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Neck and Head

Traumatic

  • Acute Wry Neck
    Acute Wry Neck 2

    • An acute wry neck is a sudden onset neck injury typified by pain, loss of movement and often a feeling of the neck being “locked”.
    • Risk Factors / Causes:
      • Acute wry neck is very common and is frequently seen in adolescents and anecdotally is more common in females than males.  Patients will often waken with an acute wry neck and it appears to be more common in front sleepers.
      • We see lots of these around university and high-school exam time and at other times of high stress or with lots of screen time.
      • They will also occur as a result of sudden movement such as sneezing or quickly turning the head in response to a load noise such as a car backfiring.
      • Acute wry neck will usually have a facet joint injury or a disc injury as a root cause.
    • Management:Acute Wry Neck
      • An irritated or inflamed facet joint, leading to an acute wry neck, often drives a powerful spasm response in the muscles parallel to the spine causing pain, movement loss and “crooking” of normal posture.  Our first response as physiotherapists is to relax the muscle spasm, restore mobility to stiffened segments and provide pain relief.  Some patients respond well to joint manipulation or “cracking” and experience a rapid recovery.
      • Our assessment will have told us whether stiffness or hypermobility, or a combination of the two, are an issue so we mobilise the stiff and utilise stabilising exercises to support the loose.  In doing so we provide pain-management; we restore optimal joint movement; normalise muscle recruitment patterns; and enhance joint stability.  All of these techniques are gradually progressed until we are replicating the loads that would be experienced in a work, leisure or sport environment.
      • An acute wry neck arising from a disc injury is managed in a similar way to a facet joint acute wry neck.  The major difference is the recovery time is longer.  So again we use techniques to reduce muscle spasm, support posture and reinforce pain-relieving movement patterns.  We also restore optimal joint movement; normalise muscle recruitment patterns; and enhance joint stability.
      • Lastly we look at causative factors such as office or study ergonomics, sleeping position and workplace task rotation and address those to help prevent injury reoccurrence.
    • If you’re experiencing an acute wry neck then come and see one of our highly qualified physios today [ Click here to Request an Appointment ]

 

  • WhiplashWhiplash
    • Whiplash or Whiplash Associated Disorder as it’s known in the game is the source of significant disability, pain and distress.  Ask a physio about whiplash and they will tell you that for every straight-forward whiplash patient that recovers beautifully there will be another who experiences a myriad of ongoing symptoms including pain, stiffness, nausea, dizziness and weakness.    The nature of the injury: typically occurring as the result of high speed trauma, and its location: the highly mobile, nerve rich upper spine plays a role in the potentially complicated recovery.  The good news is that lots of research dollars have been poured into discovering management techniques for whiplash and the outcomes are well understood and widely successful.
    • Risk Factors / Causes:
      • Whiplash is a high-speed acceleration-deceleration injury occurring in the upper spine.  Everyone’s familiar with whiplash occurring as the result of a car or motorbike accident; it also is seen following a heavy football tackle; or as the result of a blow to the head in boxing or as part of a physical assault.
    • Management:Whiplash 2
      • Patients presenting to Construct Health with whiplash often are in a lot of pain, so we use techniques to reduce muscle spasm, support posture and reinforce pain-relieving movement patterns.
      • In addition to pain-management we look to restoring optimal joint movement; normalising muscle recruitment patterns; and enhancing joint stability.  As the deep neck muscles are the primary mechanism responsible for controlling joint motion we spend a lot of time focusing on muscle retraining as part of our patients’ rehab.  All of these techniques are gradually progressed until we are replicating the loads that would be experienced in a work, leisure or sport environment.  Many of our patients respond well to Pilates-based exercise to improve their muscle strength and endurance and general joint and body mobility.
      • Research has shown that a rehabilitation approach that draws upon the expertise of a number of different professions may be required to manage whiplash cases that are slow to respond.  This may include doctors, pain management and pain education specialists, psychologists and of course we physiotherapists.
    • If you’ve experienced a whiplash injury and need some help with your rehab then come and see one of our highly qualified physios today [ Click here to Request an Appointment ]

Chronic

  • Headacheheadache
    • Researchers have identified over 300 different types of headaches – including migraine, tension-headache, cluster headache, menstrual headache and many more.  Of these 300 many may be caused by injury or dysfunction in the tissues and bony structures of the neck, jaw, shoulders and upper back.

      Recent research and newly devised treatment protocols have shown promising outcomes for many different types of headache, including those not typically thought to be treatable through physiotherapy, particularly migraines and chronic menstrual headaches.

    • Risk Factors / Causes:
      • This could be a pretty long-list but we will keep this simple.  Of the 300 plus headache types the most common contributing factors we see in our clinics are whiplash; dysfunction of the TMJ or jaw joints (insert hyperlink to TMJ notes); stress; muscle strain; disc disease or injury; injury to the facet joints of the cervical spine and degenerative arthritic changes in the spine.
    • Management:
      • At Construct Health our physiotherapists are trained to fully assess the muscles, joints and surrounding tissues that can contribute to headaches in order to provide accurate and specific treatment with the aim of providing headache relief.  We can also tailor an ongoing management programme to assist you in managing your own headaches and stop them at the first sign of trouble.  As headaches often have multiple contributing factors it is this latter step of self-management, self-awareness and mindfulness of your triggers that is of upmost importance
    • Think you need help to get on top of an acute or chronic headaches then come and see one of our highly qualified physios today [ Click here to Request an Appointment ]

 

  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) PainTemperomandibular Joint (TMJ) Pain
    • It’s amazing how often patients come to us with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain who have put up with it for years having been told there’s nothing that can be done to help.  Sometimes these patients come seeking help for headaches (insert hyperlink to headache notes) only to find out that the headache is merely a symptom of the TMJ dysfunction.  We also receive referrals from dentists or oral surgeons who recognise the need for physiotherapy treatment to manage a patients symptoms.
    • Risk Factors / Causes:
      • Traumatic jaw and/or teeth injury; poor jaw alignment; cervical-spine related changes to TMJ function; trigger points within and dysfunction of the muscles of the face and jaw; stress; teeth grinding (bruxism); whiplash; wisdom teeth extraction or other prolonged dental procedure.
    • Management:
      • Much of the management of TMJ symptoms comes down to correct diagnosis and assessment of all contributing factors.  Where orofacial/oromaxillary/dental issues are present we refer onto and work with dentists and surgeons to restore normal function.  Where cervical spine issues and whiplash disorder are driving the symptoms we retrain motor control, posture and strength to fix the underlying issue.  In all cases we teach movement retraining, muscle lengthening and muscle strengthening exercises and work with our patients to identify and avoid the “triggers” that exacerbate their symptoms.